Category Archive: Comic Review

Jun 28 2015

Saga (vol four) – Brian K. Vaughan

It’s been about a year since I’ve read the last volume, but with a straightforward plot line of star-crossed lovers with a child, trying to outwit government forces that are more than a little annoyed about the two quitting their war (being that they’re on different sides and all), it didn’t take much to remind me of the cast of characters and their situation. Unfortunately, I was rather disappointed. If I was new to the book I would see nothing to recommend it. Yes, there are some dramatic turns and wrinkles, but the bottom line is that it is a story about a married couple starting to drift apart due to mundane stress. But even that story seems contrived as a desperate attempt to add a new development. The unfortunate truth is that despite having every issue to begin with a splash page that acts as misdirection and ending every issue and with a splash page that hopes to provide a cliffhanger, the story seems to have run out of steam, and for work that I praised wholeheartedly in the beginning, I have no eagerness to keep reading. Saga

Jun 23 2015

Barbarian Lord – Matt Smith

By its own admission, this comic is as much Icelandic saga as it is Thundarr the Barbarian (lords of light, do you remember who that is?); however, the problem is it just doesn’t come together well. I love the cute art, and still have a hard time believing this is not Jeff Smith, but the story tends to be a little all over the place. Don’t give me a lineage with bizarre names, but then settle on the idea that none of that matters and proceed to give people names such as Barbarian Lord. I still can’t figure out if our hero is even that, whether he’s incredibly clever or rather dense, or if some of the hilarious lines are even meant to be funny. It seems like a work in progress, and when it does figure out what kind of a comic it is, I’ll be happy to give it a second look. Barbarian lord

Jun 17 2015

The Secret Service: Kingsman – Mark Millar

Despite the incredibly positive reviews, the fact that the comic was turned into a movie, and had a great creative team of Millar, some quixotic direction from Matthew Vaughn, and art by Dave Gibbons, this comic was a pathetic, half-hearted, piece of garbage. Purely done by the numbers, with painstakingly embarrassing attempts to hit certain bullet points, there was almost nothing original here. It is not worth my time to go into the various defects, and the fact remains that whatever opinion I have is clearly wrong, due to, as I said, the reviews and popularity. I guess I have no idea what makes for a good comic. kingsman

Jun 11 2015

Batman/Superman: Cross World vol 1- Greg Pak

The “new” 52 has the young Batman and Superman meet for the first time, get involved with some sort of trickster god, jump across dimensions, and accomplished absolutely nothing (that’s not really much of a spoiler, there must be dozens of ways a comic can end with nothing resolved). Let’s temporarily ignore the fact that this comic was incredibly boring, and in the end meaningless, I’m not sure how it was supposed to entice people into the DC universe. In no way does it really introduce the characters, relying only on what you already know, and doesn’t particularly make them enjoyable. I suppose some of the art was interesting, I’m just not sure what I’m supposed to take away from it, other than exactly what the characters in the comic themselves did, which was exactly nothing. Batman Superman Greg Pak

Jun 04 2015

Through The Woods – Emily Carroll

If you are looking for a collection of very creepy short stories partially based on fairytales, with imaginative almost childlike artwork, and vibrant if few colors, then you will love this. I’m pretty sure this work is geared towards children, but many of the stories, especially the shorter ones really freaked me out. Great job. Through the woods

Jun 02 2015

The Masochists – Nick Bertozzi

I want to like this little indy comic with its simply drawn, black and white, only a couple of panels on a page comic, yet I can’t. Bertozzi uses broad strokes to paint pictures of people dealing with problems in their lives, although it is really only the 3rd and final story that any “real” problems exist. The trouble is his strokes are so broad that I don’t have any feel for or understanding of the characters and thus can’t actually care. 

May 28 2015

Joker – Brian Azzarello

I really enjoyed this take on the Batman villain, the insane Joker, as told by a henchman. Azzarello does a nice job with small details, such as keeping timeframes out of the equation, as well as larger ones, such showing how someone might be enraptured into a sociopath’s world. I did feel the ending just sort of happened and thus was disappointed with that. Jeff Bermejo’s art created “realistic” depictions of the usual suspects with a harsh horrific style that was perfect for this work. 

May 17 2015

B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth: New World – Mike Mignola & John Arcudi

I’m not really sure what’s going on here. There seems to have been a bunch of other stuff that happened prior to this that I probably need to know, but don’t. Anyway, populations of entire towns are going missing and it is up to the fish-man Abe to figure out what is happening. Oh, he might also be the anti-christ. Oh, and monsters and other horrible things are happening all the time so it might be the end of the world. I didn’t really care for this, which sounds strange after that description. While there was action and some character development, I just didn’t really care much and maybe this has to do with the fact that I don’t really like Guy Davis’s art. Sorry. 

May 10 2015

Fury – Garth Ennis

I really feel like I’m done with Ennis. This was just horrible. Typical Ennis complete with a dude with a messed up face, rape, tons of bloody murder, everyone being incompetent but our hero, and then a half hearted “I’m doing this because I really wish to help people.” I want to break this down and explain piece by piece why this story about Nick Fury, the hard core head of a spy agency, who has to take charge to stop an international incident, apparently by being a total jerk; however, it simply is a bad piece of writing and I don’t have time for it. 

May 05 2015

She Hulks: Hunt for the Intelligencia

The She-Hulks are tracking down superintelligent villains. The child from the future who travels back to our time has been done, if not to death, then to maim, but the story of Lyra the hulk from the future and her cousin Jen (also a hulk, but not a future one) could actually be really interesting. Brawn verse brains and Lyra trying to be a “normal” teen-age girl could have lots of great fights and poignent moments. Instead, it rushes through the plot and only gives us a couple of funny lines. 

Apr 24 2015

Captain Atom: Armageddon – Will Pfeifer

Let me explain why this comic is a piece of crap. DC comics’ superhero, Captain Atom, sacrifices himself to save the planet (why this was the only option is ignored), but in “dying” he is sent to the Wildstorm comics’ Earth, where all their superheroes are total dicks. For unknown reasons Captain Atom is destined to destroy the universe. Why? How people find this stuff out? Why he’s alive and there and can’t get back to his universe? is ignored (my supercomputer told me). True to form, the Wildstorm guys are dicks to the point that even the good Captain acts like a dick, and the whole thing is for nothing. 

Apr 16 2015

The Furies – Mike Carey

It is an interesting idea based on Greek mythology: The Titan, Cronus, had been hunted by the Furies–forces of vengeance against those that kill their kin–since around the beginning of time, and comes up with a plan to get rid of them once and for all. Unfortunately, the story is directly tied to The Sandman universe and makes enjoyment of the comic impossible for those disconnected from the title (that had ended long (enough) before). I also wasn’t thrilled with John Bolton’s art. It seems like all the characters where drawn from friends modeling the person/pose and it gives that awkward feeling of pictures that look too close to people but not close enough that is discussed in the art/animation/CGI world. 

Apr 02 2015

The Punisher (vol 10): Valley Forge, Valley Forge – Garth Ennis

I liked this collection, probably because it didn’t have Ennis’s  typical Punisher tropes (see here). Instead it is a story that has been building involving a group of generals that have been deep in very shady actions who decide to deal with their vigilante problem by sending Delta force after The Punisher. The tale deals with concepts of honor and loyalty and the decline in American values (and I’m not talking BS like letting gays in the military, although there are a lot more long haired guys in Ennis’s special forces than I would figure). It was a solid tale of deceit and revenge. See what happens, Ennis, when you give up on cliches?

Mar 14 2015

Rex Libris (vol 2): Book of Monsters – James Turner

The second collection of the adventures of the titular character. In his never ending mission to protect the books of his library, Rex gets sucked into a book of monsters and has to navigate past (without a proper categorization system!) the various beasts in order to rescue a library patron. There are also other, shorter stories–even one with Cthulhu! The work of a librarian is never dull nor done! This was a fun romp, if not very deep in plot, which might be due to the series ending (low sales and knowing you’re being canceled can easily take a creator’s energy away). I’m sad to see it go.

Mar 13 2015

Lenore: Pink Bellies – Roman Dirge

It is long past time there was another Lenore comic, and while I’m furious about the delay, Pink Bellies is absolutely hysterical. If you haven’t read any of these comics before this may not be the best collection to pick it up, but with its delightfully silly art–coupled with images that show just how talented Dirge actually is as an artist–wonderfully colored, and just nonstop hilarity in terms of an insane action adventure romp, fighting super-soldiers and ancient gods, it is hard to beat. Lenore is about a little dead girl, roughly based on the poem on by Edgar Allan Poe, who is more than a little nuts, and a collection of friends–for lack of better word–that don’t so much go on adventures but deal with nonsense that tends to happen to them, not that they’re completely innocent of these happenings. I realize I keep using terms akin to hilarious and insane to describe this comic, but I think you will find them very apt. 

Mar 08 2015

The Count of Monte Cristo – adapted by R. Jay Nudds

Ok, you know I had to read a comic version of the story after I read the original. This adaptation isn’t bad, and gives a relatively good summary of the events. However, there are many characters and a reader can lose track of them not having spent fifty pages on any one of them and instead simply remembering who is who by their illustration. Additionally, the power and depth of Edmund’s revenge plans and the feeling of empathy for him (and even the “victims”) are difficult, again due to the necessary shortness of the comic version. 

Mar 04 2015

Cast Away on the Letter A: A Philemon Adventure – Fred

Apparently, Fred is a big shot in France but this is the first of his works that I read. It is an absurdist comic about a young boy that gets sent to a magical world and must figure out a way to get back home. There’s obviously more to this plot, and the art is quite good; however, I can’t say I was particularly moved by it. The very factors that would make someone enjoy this comic are the things that kept me away, such as the surrealist storyline and the over-stylized art. It’s not for everyone but it may just be for you. 

 

Mar 02 2015

The Punisher (vol 8): Widowmaker – Garth Ennis

I liked this collection about the vigilante, The Punisher, better than most. Probably because Ennis had to work with his secondary characters to make them have motive and personality to explain why one group of women are getting together to take out The Punisher, another woman who appears to be crazy is tailing them, and a cop who should be a hero is caught up in the middle of it. Still, typical Ennis Punisher stories have to have the following: black people speaking Ebonics, women have to be almost exclusively crazy and/or slutty, rape victims, most of the backstory has to be given in exposition, and there must be a major body count. 

Feb 28 2015

The Spectre: Tales of the Unexpected – David Lapham

A former cop is now the human inhabitant of the spirit of vengeance, The Specter, and is tasked in Gotham city to kill various people involved in a gruesome murder. I just made this comic sound much better than it was. It was very short and I still did not enjoy it. 

 

Feb 27 2015

John Constantine, Hellblazer: Papa Midnite – Mat Johnson

What a long title for a book that didn’t do what it should have. It is a great idea to tell the 1700’s origin of the Voodoo hood, Papa Midnite, and to learn about his powers and immortality, within a historical context. However, I am uncertain if the NY slave uprisings Johnson writes about have a factual basis (and I need to feel it in the text, not by looking it up), but more to the point the story itself was all over the place, never painting a full picture or truly providing depth of character. 

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